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Mercosur refuses Zelensky's request to address the bloc's presidents

Mercosur countries refused a request from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to send a message during the presidential summit this Thursday (21), after failing to reach a consensus as a bloc.

“There was no consensus to be able to have this communication”, declared the deputy minister of Economic Relations and Integration of Paraguay, Raúl Cano Ricciardi, in a press conference this Wednesday (20).

The diplomat stated that Mercosur – a mechanism founded in 1991 and formed by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay – “make its determinations by consensus.”

“Under these circumstances, there are no conditions to be able to speak like Mercosur with the president of Ukraine”, he justified. Ricciardi did not reveal, however, which countries supported or rejected the request.

Zelensky made his request on July 6, during a telephone conversation with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, whose country occupies the temporary presidency of the bloc, according to the Paraguayan Foreign Minister, Julio César Arriola, revealed at the time.

At the press conference this Wednesday, after the installation of the LX Ordinary Meeting of the Common Market Council , Ricciardi confirmed that the decision had already been communicated “to the Ukrainian counterpart”.

Specifically, he noted that the Paraguayan Foreign Minister – to whom Abdo Benítez entrusted the task of consulting other Mercosur countries – communicated the decision to the Kyiv ambassador credited to Argentina and concomitant with Asunción.

In an interview with TV Globo released on Tuesday, Zelensky criticized President Jair Bolsonaro’s “neutrality” in relation to the Russian invasion and demanded a position of the Brazilian ruler in the conflict.

Bolsonaro will not attend the Mercosur summit, the first in person between the bloc’s heads of state since the beginning of the Covid pandemic-19.

In turn , last February, Abdo Benítez condemned the attacks on the Ukrainian people on Twitter and urged “the aggressors to stop their actions, calling for dialogue for peace and world stability”.

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